My friend Ann found a note on the pew at church one Communion Sunday. Scribbled in a child’s hand, it read: Daddy wen do we do the drinking?
She shared her discovery with me recently and I couldn’t help but laugh, remembering when one of my own little bitty ones asked if the preacher ever toasted the bread before he gave it to us at the front of the church. “He should think about it,” he said, going so far as to suggest we buy him a toaster. This is the same child who, upon being christened at the age of three, declared he didn’t need a bath that night because God had already washed his hair that morning.
How could I argue with that?
Thumbing through my Bible not too terribly long ago, I came across a rumpled piece of paper that had been folded and folded again, then once again for good measure, I suppose. I don’t remember when I put it there, just like I don’t remember when or even why I put a carefully smoothed out gum wrapper with the word “joy” written on it, or a now dried out, brown flower with petals coming off between the sacred pages. But it was there, and on it were typed out anecdotes about children and church and God and how they see things through their beautiful, little eyes. It made me smile.
Like the one about the little boy who was overheard praying: “Lord, if you can’t make me a better boy, don’t worry about it. I’m having a real good time like I am.” Or another one about a little boy who sobbed all the way home in the back seat of the car after he and his baby brother were christened in church. His father asked him three times what was wrong. Finally, the boy replied, “That preacher said he wanted us brought up in a Christian home, and I wanted to stay with you guys.”
One is the story of a mother who was teaching her 3-year-old daughter the Lord’s Prayer, reciting it over and over with her in the evenings at bedtime. Finally, the little girl decided to try it on her own. The mother listened with pride as she carefully enunciated each word right up to the end of the prayer: “Lead us not into temptation,” the little one prayed, “but deliver us some email. Amen.”
Then there is the Sunday school teacher who asked her children, as they were on the way to church service, “And why is it necessary to be quiet in church?” One bright little girl replied, “Because people are sleeping.”
One of my favorites is about the mother who was preparing pancakes for her sons, ages 5 and 3. The boys began to argue over who would get the first pancake. Their mother saw the opportunity for a moral lesson. “If Jesus were sitting here, He would say, ‘Let my brother have the first pancake, I can wait.’” At that, the older brother turned to his younger brother and said, “Okay, you be Jesus!”
A father was at the beach with his children when his 4-year-old son ran up to him, grabbed his hand, and led him to the shore where a seagull lay dead in the sand. “Daddy, what happened to him?” the son asked. “He died and went to Heaven,” the Dad replied. The boy thought a moment and then said, “Did God throw him back down?”
And finally, there was a wife who invited some people to dinner. At the table, she turned to their 6-year-old daughter and said, “Would you like to say the blessing?” “I wouldn’t know what to say,” the girl replied. “Just say what you hear Mommy say,” the wife answered.
The daughter bowed her head and said, “Lord, why on Earth did I invite all these people to dinner?”
My children are not little bitty anymore, not by a long stretch, and sometimes I find myself missing seeing things through their beautiful little eyes. They’re not only funny sometimes, but quite smart, if you really think about.
Toasted Communion bread? He very well may have been on to something.
Contact columnist Mandy Flynn at firstname.lastname@example.org.